Fujitsu and ThoughtWorks are the only technology companies to be listed in UK advocacy charity Stonewall’s Top 100 LGBT-inclusive employers index for 2019.
Of the 34 private sector companies in the index, Fujitsu and ThoughtWorks were the only companies listed in the technology category, however, tech-heavy firms such as Vodafone, Capgemini UK and KPMG UK made the top 100.
Fujitsu rose to thirty-fourth position this year from 100 in 2018, when it was the only tech company to be included.
The Stonewall Workplace Equality Index – now in its fifteenth year – benchmarks UK companies across ten areas: policies and benefits, the employee lifecycle, LGBT network groups, allies and role models, senior leadership, monitoring, procurement, community engagement, clients and users, and additional work. The ranking is based on company submissions and confidential interviews with employees.
A record 445 employers submitted entries to the 2019 index. The most inclusive employer of the year was solicitors Pinsent Masons, followed by law firm Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, the Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service, MI5, the National Assembly for Wales, Newcastle City Council and Lloyds Banking Group.
“Despite many employers making progress on workplace inclusion, much remains to be done,” said Stonewall chief executive Ruth Hunt.
A 2018 survey by the charity found one in five LGBT staff had been the target of negative comments or conduct from work colleagues over the last year because they are LGBT. The same report found more than a third of LGBT staff have hidden or disguised that they are LGBT at work because they were afraid of discrimination.
“Changing things for the better needs us all to work together – across workplaces, across sectors, across communities,” Hunt added. “Collectively, we can, and will, build a world where all LGBT people are accepted without exception.”
Industry still struggling
The technology industry has long suffered from a lack of diversity in its workforce. Many companies are still struggling to improve the female representation of their staff.
Increasingly however, companies are chasing the financial benefits of having a diverse workforce and the edge it can give them in building products for a diverse market.
While data around gender diversity is becoming easier to come by – Atlassian, Apple, Microsoft, CA Technologies, Facebook, Twitter, IBM, Amazon and Google (one of the first to do so back in 2014) now publish their diversity stats – statistics for LGBT workers in the tech industry remains scant.
What is available does not tell a positive story. A 2018 study by Hired found LGBT candidates for tech jobs earn less than their non-LGBT counterparts.
A 2017 report by Kapor Center on people leaving the tech industry found LGBT employees were significantly more likely to be the victim of bullying or hostility in the workplace than their non-LGBT colleagues.
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